Great Value Alacarte Semi-buffet (Beyond Expectations) @ Tim Palace SAFRA Toa Payoh on 24Nov2015

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

went with my sis & b-i-l to tim palace @ SAFRA toa payoh to try out their ala carte semi-buffet on 24.11.2015.

buffet is S$25.80pax. the added attraction is S$5 discounts for SC aka senior citizens! ^^

there’s a S$2pax for water, tea & peanuts (S$2.50pax or more if other drinks). so it was S$22.80pax for 3 of us, S$27nett each.

tim palace

tim palace

tim palace is at level 3 of SAFRA toa payoh clubhouse building.

tim palace

tim palace

it is quite large in capacity, good for functions, tour groups??

roast duck, char siew & roast pork station

roast duck, char siew & roast pork station

i did not have high expectation of the roast meat 烧味 station.

but surprise, surprise, the roast duck was really, really good! very flavourful.

char siu

char siu

so was the char siu!. i think this one of the best char siu i had. as good as the excellent chargrilled pork neck at imperial treasure nanbei or (better in fact than) any other good char siu places.

roast duck - second helping

roast duck - second helping

i actually went for a second helping of roast duck, after taking the other food! 🙂

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

roast duck, char siew & roast pork 烧味

i was quite tempted to taste the salt baked chicken 盐炬鸡, but really no space left. sigh!

appetizer station

appetizer station

nothing much to say about the cold station. prawns was large, plump, fresh & sweet.

scallops & mussels all the frozen type, nothing worth taking.

appetizer station

appetizer station

the scallop tips (front) were quite nice. the prawn & squid salad were ok. sos so la!

cold flower crabs

cold flower crabs

the flower crabs were soft, mushy “nua nua”, the frozen type, not worth taking also. all these i took very little just to try.

sushi/sashimi station

sushi/sashimi station

salmon sashimi was ok. quite sweet. colour didn’t look that great.

i skipped the sushi.

appetizers

appetizers

so, mainly prawn was good, salmon sashimi ok too, squid/prawn salad & scallop tips passable.

braised small abalone with brocoli

braised small abalone with broccoli

i ordered most of the dishes that they allowed only one order.

small abalone with broccoli was good restaurant standard. no complaints. 🙂

sharksfin soup

sharksfin soup

sharksfin soup was better than most cheaper sharksfin soup, not very gluey & stock quite tasty.

sea cucumber with yam

sea cucumber with yam

sea cucumber with yam was decent competent dish.

scallops & celery in xo sauce

scallops & celery in xo sauce

the scallops & celery in xo sauce was pretty good.

crayfish

crayfish

crayfish was poor!

crayfish

crayfish

meat has no taste. this dish (thumbs down)!

char siu pao

char siew pao

we did not order the char siew pao, but somehow it was marked on the order sheet, the marking very different from our order markings, think some previous customers marked on it.

anyway no big deal, so we took it. the char siu pao were good!

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

i read that the deep-fried flower garoupa not so good, so we ordered the steamed seabass with sambal sauce.

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

steamed seabass with sambal sauce

seabass not such a great fish. but this preparation quite ok…so again a competent dish. maybe i will try the garoupa next time. don’t mind coming back again. 🙂

honey ribs

honey ribs

the honey ribs were ordinary. as good as any zi char stall i suppose. not my favourite.

honey ribs

honey ribs

cannot really criticise thsi dish, but the char siu was many times better than this.

drunken prawns

drunken prawns

surprisingly also the drunken prawns was very good. must be a very good quality shaoxing wine 绍兴酒.

braised lamb pot

braised lamb pot

the braised lamb pot was competent dish, but no more.

lamb still retain the gamey taste, and not specially flavourful.

braised lamb pot

braised lamb pot

i would say it’s a robust dish like a beef stew, so unless the herbs & preparation is special (like say at majestic), it’s not a dish i am particularly fond of.

dessert station

dessert station

dessert station the usual fare, with fruits, custard puffs & red bean pan cake etc.

sea coconut & longans

sea coconut & longans

i took the sea coconut…quite refreshing.

lotus seed red beans dessert

lotus seed red beans dessert

and a bit of the lotus seed red beans dessert. pretty ok.

the food quality & cooking were pretty ok, not that much different from (i would say better actually) say peach garden miramar’s ala carte buffet, and certainly better than the ala carte buffet at ban heng orchard central.

the outstanding dishes for me here were the roast duck, char siu(tops), drunken prawns, abalone.

the sea cucumber & scallops were pretty good.

c.h.e.f andy

++++++++++++++++++

Tim Palace

Address : 293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #03-01 Safra Club Singapore 319387
Hotline : 6253 5515 (Reservation is needed on Saturday and Sunday)
Fax : 6253 0266
Email : timpalace@gimtim.com.sg

OPENING HOURS:

Mon – Fri: 11:30 – 14:00; 18:00 – 22:00

Sat, Sun & PH: 11:00 – 14:30; 18:00 – 22:00

 

 

Protected: RI G20 Monthly Dinner by Chak Joo @ Ban Heng Harbourfront Centre on 24Nov2014

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RI Friends Monthly Dinner @ Ban Heng Harbourfront Centre on 24Nov2014

#10 roast pork

#10 roast pork

we had our november RI friends dinner @ ban heng harbourfront centre on 24.11.2014. 🙂

this was the smallest turnout, with 7pax.

i had not been to this ban heng outlet before. the last time G20 had a 23pax dinner at ban heng at orchard central, food was quite average.

this outlet has 2 ala carte buffet menu – one pried at S$28.80++ here, and the other at S$21.80++. from what i can see the main difference is for the S$28.80 menu you get to pick 1 order of abalones, crabs, froglegs, live prawns, scallops.

we took the S$28.80++ menu.

#1 roast duck

#1 roast duck

#1 roast duck

#1 roast duck

#1 roast duck was passable. but c/w the beautiful roast duck at both canton paradise star vista & canton paradise J-cube or with the noodles restaurant at centrepoint, this would be a poor & distant cousin.

#2 drunken chicken

#2 drunken chicken

#2 drunken chicken

#2 drunken chicken

#2 drunken chicken was average, competent.

#3 garlic spinach

#3 garlic spinach

#4 sambal kang kong

#4 sambal kang kong

#4 sambal kang kong

#4 sambal kang kong

liked the vegetables, #3 garlic spinach & #4 sambal kang kong.

#5 deep-fried soon hock

#5 deep-fried soon hock

#5 deep-fried soon hock

#5 deep-fried soon hock

#5 deep-fried soon hock was a standard dish. it was done well. 🙂

#6 beef with bitter gourd black bean sauce

#6 beef with bitter gourd black bean sauce

#6 beef with bitter gourd black bean sauce was also done well. i personally would prefer fish head & meat with black bean bitter gourd, but this was as good as any good zi char, say kok sen at keong saik street or hong kong street chun kee at commonwealth crescent or ah orh at bukit merah.

#7 steamed prawns

#7 steamed prawns

#7 steamed prawns

#7 steamed prawns

#7 steamed prawns was good like any good seafood restaurant.

#8 sharks fin soup

#8 sharks fin soup

#8 sharks fin soup

#8 sharks fin soup

surprisingly the #8 sharks fin soup though gluey like any served at weddings in yesteryears, had very tasty stock. this was much better than ban heng orchard central.

#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions

#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions

#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions

#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions

#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions was also a competent dish. not so different from what my family used to have often at ah yat turf city (now grandstand) long in the past.

#10 roast pork

#10 roast pork

#10 roast pork. all my friends liked this a lot. we had a second order. meat looked great, was tender & tasty & skin was crisp. i would say presentation & taste-wise still a tad below what i had recently at tunglok central.

#11 fried prawns with celery

#11 fried prawns with celery

#11 fried prawns with celery

#11 fried prawns with celery

#11 fried prawns with celery – passable, nothing interesting.

#12 char siew

#12 char siew

#12 char siew looked & tasted great. of the 2 dishes, my friends liked the roast pork better.

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach. this was quite good dish also. the braising sauce though was nothing like the really good brown sauce served in good cantonese restaurants say ah yat abalones forum restaurant for abalone dishes (also goose web & spiky sea cucumber dishes) or at chao yue xuan.

#14 deep-fried ilapia in thai sauce

#14 deep-fried tilapia in thai sauce

#14 deep-fried tilapia in thai sauce was an interesting dish. it had less meat so some friends preferred the soon hock dish to this.

#15 scallops in yam nest

#15 scallops in yam nest

#15 scallops in yam nest. scallops were average & overall this dish was poor, below par, not even comparable with a good yam basket say at ah orh w/o expensive scallops.

#16 chai poh with steamed bean curd

#16 chai poh minced pork with steamed bean curd

#16 chai poh minced pork with steamed bean curd, i think this was really poor.

#17 sweet & sour soup

#17 sweet & sour soup

#17 sweet & sour soup. this was a pretty good soup.

#18 pepper crab

#18 pepper crab

#18 pepper crab

#18 pepper crab

#18 pepper crab was quite the usual seafood restaurant standard, for sure better than spices cafe.

pulut hitam

pulut hitam

aloe vera & jelly

aloe vera & jelly

aloe vera & jelly

aloe vera & jelly

self service dessert were quite standard. aloe vera with jelly was quite refreshing & pulut hitam the usual.

overall, food here was better than ban heng orchard central but not as good as (service especially) peach gardens miramar (menu had wider spread though at ban heng harbour front). for S$28.80++ pax it was 2/3 the price of spices cafe w/o the lobster. i guess quite an ok deal.

c.h.e.f andy

Below Par (for the Price) 4pax Dinner @ Restaurant Home on 25Jun2014

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

was truly disappointed with the S$59.80+ ala carte buffet at restaurant home on 25.6.2014. 😦

probably had to do with wrong expectations, as the award winning chef tan yong hua has so many accolades, not least the first singaporean chef to win against iron Chef Thailand. also the price of S$59.80+pax would be quite ok if the dishes were good & not just mediocre.

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

#1 the mini buddha-jump-over-the-wall(bjotw) had a light decent soup base (not intense & maybe that was intended), a good flower mushroom, a quite small abalone which was ok & lots of chicken plus a cheap fish maw (not 花胶). i supposed average ingredients were quite ok if the soup was really tasty. it was not a bad soup. 1 of us commented any lie tong (例汤) soup of the day by tunglok or imperial treasure would beat this, so there was nothing much to say.

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

#2 the bite/texture & flavour of the 8-head abalone & also the flower mushroom were quite good. the spinach was just average, and perhaps it was more the method of preparation, but any brown sauce braised chinese abalones (ah yat, tunglok, xin restaurant etc) would be a better overall taste experience than this (not a better abalone). i guess this dish would be above average to good whereas the mini bjotw was just average.

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

#3 the salmon & maguro (tuna) sashimi were ok, the lobster was buried in mayo. a wasabi or salted egg prawn would be better. the dish was ok but nondescript.

herbal drunken prawns

herbal prawns

#4 the prawns were big & fresh & quite tasty. i guess it was about as good as a herbal prawn could be. it was not a dish i would much fancy though, unlike the wow factor with the golden prawns at mikuni.

deep-fried soon hock

deep-fried red garoupa

#5 the deep-fried red garoupa was competent, good even. but as 1 diner commented, it was no better than ah yat though the garoupa tasted better than soon hock. i also thought it was not much better than peach garden miramar, not counting ban heng’s deep-fried soon hock which was very average.

roast duck

roast duck

#6 the roast duck was to me about the best dish for the evening (& it was not among the chef selected dishes above limited to 1 serving). skin was crispy, meat was tender, moist not overcooked & very flavourful.

cabmeat brocoli

crabmeat brocoli

#7 the crabmeat broccoli was another better dish, looked good, tasted great, more like the standards of tunglok or imperial treasure.

sichuan beef with rice crackers

sichuan beef with rice crackers

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

#8 the sichuan spicy fish fillet (i forgot to take a photo) was ok edible not good but as 水煮鱼 it was a disaster! even the NUS canteen foodgle hub just above average S$6 水煮鱼 was better than this.

#9 the sichuan spicy beef with rice crackers was worse than the fish! beef was bad by any standard, the sinewy quite tasteless like rubber type. even the artificial tenderised beef at coffeeshop zi char stalls were better! not sure the thai type rice crackers qualified as 锅巴. if it were any zi char stall, i guess one could argue that’s just a choice of words.

osmanthus jelly

osmanthus jelly

#10 the osmanthus jelly was pretty good, i guess not so far off timhowan which was better, but it’s just jelly.

fruit jelly

rosella jelly with diced mango

#11 the rosella jelly was ok for a jelly but really a poor dessert c/w any of tunglok, xin, imperial treasure, i guess better than having red beans & green beans at ah yat.

#12 3 of us ordered the almond jelly (no photos). this was good restaurant standard.

i had earlier booked en japanese dining @ alocasia to try their S$56++pax queen crab wagyu ala carte buffet, but had canceled that to try this new restaurant. it was a manifestly wrong decision to take this ala carte buffet. it was not near as good as peach garden miramar’s (S$30.80++pax 3 paying 1 free) which was 1/2 the price. this 4pax dinner cost S$264nett. my recent fabulous 4pax dinner at mikuni cost only S$195nett. there was totally no comparison at all regards the food! 😦

1 Facebook friend who dined there recently commented that the ala carte orders –  lychee wood smoked peking duck, claypot steamed fish, tofu egg, braised pork knuckles vermicelli in oba leaf – were pretty good. i guess a sound opinion & i am not totally ruling out trying ala carte here if there are takers among my friends(but i think not likely), but the ala carte buffet is totally out for me! & i think really the organisation is still not in groove to put up this below par level of cuisine for a S$59.80 ala carte buffet. 😦

c.h.e.f andy

Good Ala Carte Buffet @ Peach Garden Miramar on 8May2014

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drunken chicken

went with sis, b-i-l & a friend to peach garden miramar on 8.5.2014. they were having a 3paying 1 free promotion for 4pax at S$30.80 weekdays. 🙂

#1 the drunken chicken was 1/2 frozen & did not look great (my one looked better..haha) but the taste was good! much better than mine. 🙂

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pork floss with deep-fried eggplant

#2 we all liked the pork floss & also the light battered egg plant, very nice dish! 🙂

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deep-fried soon hock

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deep-fried soon hock

#3 deep-fried soon hock was ok, above average, perhaps a little better than the recent one at ban heng on 25.4.2014, but not the best.

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pork ribs

#4 the pork ribs were flavourful. meat not the most tender, just slightly chewy, taste was good.

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crab sauce tofu

#5 crab sauce & tofu were good. look-wise seems something missing in this dish..maybe some garnish or greens.

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pating fish

#6 pating my favourite fish. this method of preparation not the best. the minced ginger or HK steamed style much better.

roast pork - below par!

roast pork – below par!

#7 it seemed really odd that a roast pork dish in such a restaurant could be bad, but it was, much below par!

char siew

char siew

#8 we were already very full when i spotted the char siew later & had to order it. this was very good! almost imperial treasure standard. 🙂

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losbter claw sharksfin soup

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sea cucumber sharksfin soup

#9 each diner was only allowed 1 order of soup. i had the lobster claw sharksfin soup. it was very average soup (not even as good as any lie tong aka soup of the day from tonglok restaurants or imperial treasure), and the sea cucumber sharksfin seemed no better.

1969406_10152378986004494_2354574252869054277_n

hotplate venison

#10 venison was very average, like any zi char stall.

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pan-fried kurobuta

#11 kurobuta itself was tender & tasty. this chinese way of preparation though not my favourite.

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dried scallop eggwhite fried rice

#12 fried rice was good, fragrant! 🙂

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yuzu prawn fritters

#13 these were very nice, much better than wasabi mayo prawns preparation. 🙂 may try these at home.

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fried scallop with french beans

#14 this was like a joke. the scallops turned out to be like 1 medium scallop (or maybe 1/2) sliced into 10 pieces. you need real skills to slice it so thinly. a case of disappearing scallop dish. 😦

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indonesian prawn

#15 surprisingly, the indonesian prawn dish was very good. prawn was good & fresh & the curry sauce was very good.

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tofu with vege

#16 this was ok, pretty standard.

brocoli & cauliflower

brocoli & cauliflower

#17 brocoli & cauliflower was very well done, very tasty! 🙂

overall food was quite good for an ala carte buffet, a lot better certainly c/w ban heng.

the service was good, efficient & friendly throughout except when paying the bill. we were charged a really hefty S$1.50pax for ice water & S$1pax for towels, so there was an extra S$10++ tab on the bill. it was a bit high but ok except that we asked specifically at the beginning when deciding whether to order tea & was told by the server that water was FREE, and tea was S$2.50pax. i told the girl closing the bill. she said water was as charged (next time i need to record the conversation. haha!). anyway, the total bill after 1pax free came to $120nett=S$30nett per pax so i was quite ok to just pay it.

i would come back again but buffets were very heavy & not ideal for me to do too often. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

23pax Dinner @ Ban Heng Orchard Central on 25Apr2014

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braised small abalones with broccoli

had our dinner get-together for 23pax at ban heng @ orchard central on 25.4.2014. we had 3 tables. sure looks like our monthly dinners are gaining traction and we have sustainable numbers coming together to catch up each month. 🙂

i had never been to ban heng, the original at boon keng & the now many new outlets. they have a weekday ala carte buffet at S$26.80pax i emailed the link to the organiser & he arranged to do it at the orchard central outlet.

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chilli crab

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sharks fin soup

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stir-fried frog legs

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drunken prawns

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stir-fried scallops with asparagus

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garlic steamed scallops with tanhoon

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deep-fried soon hock

we started with the list of chef’s recommendations above. for me the best dish was the abalone. 🙂 it was about or almost the normal good restaurant standard, not better.

the rest of the dishes were kind of below par or maybe i should say just ok. however everything is relative. the price of S$26.80 is i guess pretty alright for the number of dishes, though these days there were more talks of worthwhile calories & worthwhile cholesterol and focus was more on quality than quantity. 1 friend i asked during dinner said pretty much the same, that relative to price it was ok. another friend commented on FB post afterwards – “The food was actually quite satisfactory for the price and place”.

1 place though i would consider a whole lot better than (after trying) ban heng would be the ala carte buffet at peach garden.

the chilli crab was pretty ok though not spicy (as we were told by the servers), but it was not a dish that the ladies took much nor the rest.

the sharkskin soup was gluey like sometimes served in wedding dinners. i took <1/2 of the portion served.

the drunken prawn was among the better dishes. 1 lady on my table commented that it had nicely herb flavoured soup. the prawns were quite ok.

the frog legs were a bit below par (say) c/w the plump, meaty ones at ah yat turf city.

likewise the garlic steamed scallops with tanhoon. this should be a pretty standard dish if using live scallops, but somehow the scallop & garnishing were not tasty.  i do a much better tasty dish using IQF frozen razor clams from giant, but of course i always prefer razor clams to scallops for this garlic steamed preparation.

the stir-fried scallops with asparagus was also an average dish. the asparagus were quite good in texture & taste. scallops were just average. like the frog leg, this dish was lacking in ‘wok hae”, which was surprising as the baby kailan dish that came later had very good wok hae.

the deep-fried soon hock was also quite average. this was also a standard dish at many restaurants. couldn’t say it was poor but while the fishes were crispy outside, the inside were not moist & tender as the usually good ones at most restaurants, & the sauce were not so tasty as well.

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roast duck

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steamed sea bass

the lady who commented on the drunken prawns went to spy on the other tables…haha…& we ordered the steamed seabass & the roast duck. good food-spotting, well done!

the 1/2 seabass with spicy bean sauce was good. 🙂 though 1 friend commented that soon hock was a better & more expensive fish…but it goes to show that quality of cooking/preparation is equally or sometime more important than quality of ingredients. 🙂

the roast duck was good too, flavourful but just a tad salty. 🙂 (but compare this with the really good roast duck at noodle restaurant at centrepoint!) it prompted the lady friend to say perhaps the trick was to mine the non chef recommendations.

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stir-fried baby kai lans

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spinach with superior stock

the 2 vegetables dishes we ordered were quite good, above average. the baby kailan had very good wok hae. & the spinach with superior stock was good. nice tasty stock.

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thai deep-fried tofu

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prawn cocktail salad

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braised goose

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hae chor

10294413_10152348756534494_6515834032046957718_n the deep-fried tofu with thai sauce was much below par, both the tofu & also the sauce.

the mayo prawn salad was quite ok & refreshing though not a favourite with me.

the hae chor looks were not so appealing. the taste was just ok.

the braised goose was to me below par, which is kind of surprising for an establishment that started out as teochew restaurant 42years ago in 1972. it was not “pang” i.e. flavourful & texture was over boiled. my favourite is the braised duck at imperial treasure teochew restaurant at ngee ann city. my own teochew braised duck is also more flavourful than this. 1 friend asked whether one could tell between goose & duck. couple of us felt that (say) when eating goose in hong kong the more gamey & fragrant taste was quite apparent. 🙂

desserts were provided on a self-serviced buffet table. the ice jelly was quite refreshing. i had 2 helpings topped up with sea coconut. 🙂

overall, food, ambience & price were quite ok for such a get-together.  ala carte buffet was quite convenient, one price, easy to manage for groups & don’t really have to plan or pre-order the food, pretty much order anything you fancy. we were mostly more interested in talking, with food as a good accompaniment, so i was not paying much attention to the menu too.  it’s probably not a place i would go much or soon.

c.h.e.f andy